What John Kerry can't understand
Despite great pressure from liberal academics, from a MSM that pushes liberal ideals and despite some of the old guard in the govn't that are very liberal (think Ted Kennedy) America is the only developed country that has never had a left wing govn't. Sure we have people in govn't that are left wing, but never have we had a govn't that is completely left wing in the model that European govn'ts are.
It is not unreasonable to ask why.
The American Revolution was by and large the work of landed gentleman well versed in the idea's of the Enlightenment. It was not a revolution of enraged peasants, it was not a revolution of alienated intellectuals. From the beginning of the first real stirring of discontent dating from the Stamp Act of 1765, those who argued with the English crown did so from the perspective that they wished to preserve the principles of the English constitution. The founders of this country made the legitimate claim that they were fighting for the preservation of ancient English rights that started with the signing of the Magna Carta. These things included but were not limited to Trial by Jury, due process, free assembly and no taxation without representation. America's founders did not seek to burn down the old world and create something totally new, but to instead build on a foundation that the English system had already established.
In terms of Revolution, the American Revolution was a remarkedly restrained affair. American Tories were not paraded through the streets of Philadelphia and given show trials. They were not mass murdered. The worst they suffered was the exile and dispossession. Once the Revolution was over there were no "arrests" of some leaders by other leaders. The founding fathers went on to contemplate what they had crafted in serene old age, excepting of course Alexander Hamilton.
Many founders sided with Revolutionary France. After the Bastille was stormed the Marquis de Lafayette sent the key of the prison to George Washington. America threw out the trappings of Feudal society-titles of nobility, the established state run church and based our society on two revolutionary principles, that all men are created equal and that power must ultimately derive from the will of the people while keeping all existing civil laws in place. France on the other hand had a Revolution that devolved into an affair in which all civil society was placed into peril as they swept completely away the old regime and replaced it with something entirely new. The murderous excesses of the French Revolution so different from our own made the founder's who had strongly supported the French Revolution reel back in horror.
America is one of the world's oldest constitutional countries in the world, we are the world's oldest republic, the oldest democracy and the oldest federal system. We have the oldest written constitution. The constitution has never been swept away, it has been tinkered with, the amendments to the constitution have been placed there to force America to live up to it's original constitutional ideals, rather than a departure from those ideals.
Contrast that to France, which has had 5 republics since 1789, not to mention monarchies (again) empires, directorics, consulates and a collaborator fascist dictatorship.
Edmund Burke argued that the French ended up producing disaster because they fought for freedom in the abstract and because they wanted a government that would remake human nature. That is perhaps to me the epitomy of the left, and in that left I include John Kerry. His fight is the fight to use Government to remake human nature.
America produced a successful revolution for the opposite reason. Americans fought for and established a system of government that was tempered to suit human nature. Understanding human nature the founder's built in a complicated system of checks and balances that have worked for over 200 years. The American Revolution established a way of life in America that tempers the ambitions of arbitrary power, that realizes the main task of government is not to remake human nature, an impossible task, but to protect the individual in his private pursuit of happiness.
By enshrining the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and by setting up checks and balances in every system of govn't our founders all very deliberately crafted a society with the principle that power rests with the individual and not the state . The leftist ideal of power flowing from the state, of all good and happy results flowing from the state is not an ideal that will well take root in this country. According to a Pew survey, 74 percent of Russians, 64 percent of Italians, 62 percent of French and 62 percent of Britons think it is more important for the government to ensure that nobody is in need than it is to allow individuals to be free to pursue their own goals. 34 percent of Americans favor government safety nets over their own freedom. Only 29 percent completely agree that government has a responsibility to help the poor. Not unlike Benjamin Franklin American's worry that state welfare rewards people for destructive behavior and reduces their incentive to get back on their feet. And that destructive behavior impacts on all of society.
At the root of what makes America different and what will continue to make us different is the underlying values that are enshrined in our constitution. And it for this reason that those on the left attack our founder's as "dead white men" in our liberal minded universities. If the left succeeds in rewriting and revising the history of this country as one in which only a few landed properous men thrived while crushing underfoot all minorities and women they will then succeed in burning down centuries worth of civil law that allowed and encouraged the people of this country to build a country unlike any other in the world.
John Kerry is the candidate of the left, the most liberal of all senators outdoing even Ted Kennedy. His beliefs are ones in which citizens happiness flow from what the federal government can do for you, not what happiness you can pursue on your own. Yet one of the things that government is supposed to do by the constitution, provision of the common defense, is something Kerry has voted repeatedly to not allow. While that may be a strong statement, it is one that I believe to be true. He repeatedly voted against the very weapons system's that allowed us to win the cold war, that were used in the first Gulf War, and was used in the current war. I do not see John Kerry as simply a left leaning liberal, I see him as a socialist who would promote proven failed policies.
While I believe sincerely that a mark of civilized society is one in which the weak and the vulnerable are taken care, I do not necessarily believe all of that should happen from the US Government. While the government may have a role in helping to set up appropriate systems, it is often wasteful and incredibly inefficient for the government to run those systems. One can point out many social issues in which the US government stepped in and what occurred was appropriate. Child labor laws, women voting, civil rights all spring to mind. Those are all issues that were solved at the legislative level and ensured by civil law. Break the law and suffer the consequences. None of those things were or are currently a government program that is unending in it's tax spending abilities.
American's are different. We are different for very specific reasons, particularly different not only from cultures that the original Americans did not spring from, but also quite different from those that we did. There are many reasons for those differences, but perhaps primarily among all those reasons the constitution with all of it's complicated checks and balances, is the real force that makes those differences. As long as the majority of Americans believe that adherence to the values of the constitution and thus the values that make up the fabric of our society is of primary importance, than America will always be different. And by being different we will always ensure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.